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Travis J. Smith
03-18-2009, 07:03 AM
For about a month now I've had ideas slowly building up to a potential fantasy novel, which is quite odd seeing as I am neither a fantasy writer nor a fantasy reader. Anywho, I had a pivotal character in mind today for the potential novel and started trying to come up with a name. When I got back to my computer I found a fantasy name generator through Google and this name tickled my fancy: Lyedir.

This leads me to my question: what is the rule of pronouncing names of fantasy characters? Would there be a generally accepted pronunciation of this? Should I have an appendix specifying pronunciations? I ask this because the name caught my eye/ear because of the way I went about pronouncing it: Lie-deer.

In case you are curious, this is the name for an omniscient, sentient squirrel that guards the multiverse which is housed inside a tree within the multiverse itself. :tongue Paradox~!

geardrops
03-18-2009, 07:09 AM
This would probably go best in the SFF forums.

And appendices are up to you.

I view an appendix in a book as I view it in a human body: useless organ destined to be cut out.

But people differ on this.

Travis J. Smith
03-18-2009, 07:52 AM
I posted it here in the hopes that it would get more responses, to be quite truthful. ;)

Fulk
03-18-2009, 09:37 AM
In my experience, most people will determine their own pronunciation of unfamiliar names and words. Some will read them exactly as you do, and some will be even more creative. You could have an appendix, but that's a matter of taste. Most readers/fans will discuss the most likely pronunciations on forums at some point, and I've noticed that either authors will confirm them, or the readers will accept the pronunciation in an audiobook (if available).

Phaeal
03-18-2009, 04:43 PM
I'd pronounce this name Lie-eh-deer.

One thing to remember when concocting fantasy names. Like names in real life, each culture should show a pattern more or less distinctive to itself. So if you have a lot of squirrels in your story, living in a monoculture, you wouldn't want one named Lyedir and another named Bob. Well, not unless you were trying to be funny.

In a heteroculture, like the US, you would expect to find names derived from all the different cultures that have immigrated here. You, as creator, must still know where the names are coming from and whether the cultures mix or aspire to assimilation, perhaps producing Brittany Hernandezes as well as Brittany Morgans and Marecita Hernandezes.

Unique
03-18-2009, 04:51 PM
I would pronounce it '' lay'deer ''.

My pet peeve of fantasy is the naming. If I prounce it five ways in five paragraphs - I'm out of there. It breaks my conccentration to the point I can't follow the story. I've left quite a few books unfinished for that reason.

Travis J. Smith
03-18-2009, 05:15 PM
I'd pronounce this name Lie-eh-deer.

One thing to remember when concocting fantasy names. Like names in real life, each culture should show a pattern more or less distinctive to itself.I am new to concocting a kernel of a fantasy-esque idea, so I have not thought of these sorts of things yet, but I shall, especially now that you've made note of it.

Though this squirrel is the only one of its kind (sentient). Only one needing a name. So, in this case, no culture exists, though I obviously get your overall point.

Lay-deer, eh? I imagined that, because of the word "lye," the first half of the name would have a rather uniform pronunciation among readers, at the very least. Well, now that I know . . .

tehuti88
03-18-2009, 06:10 PM
I came up with LIE-uh-deer, myself. :D

Regarding pronunciation--does it matter if the reader knows or not? I'd say yes if the pronunciation of the name plays a part in the story (an example would be if the name is a pun that the reader doesn't get because they're pronouncing it wrong), but in most cases this isn't so. I'm reading "The Myst Reader" right now and in the first book the main character's name is Atrus. I often found myself mulling this over, wondering, is it Atrus (as in "ate" ) or is it Atrus (as in "at" ) or what? I had no clue. I was puzzled, but it didn't affect the story, so it didn't matter.

Then in the second book, his ancestor's name, which in the first book is also given as Atrus, is spelled "Aitrus," so I take that to mean that's the pronunciation. *shrug*

I'm sure readers must dreadfully mispronounce some of my characters' names. Since I take some names from mythology, even *I* don't know how to pronounce some. It doesn't affect the story, unless I should try reading it aloud to somebody, so it doesn't matter to me if somebody butchers the pronunciation. It doesn't affect the plot. THOUGH, it might be jarring if the pronunciation does become evident somewhere in the plot and it's counter to what the reader thought it was. But, as with Atrus, that happens.

Your squirrel plot sounds interesting. :D

Soccer Mom
03-18-2009, 07:43 PM
My pet peeve of fantasy is the naming. If I prounce it five ways in five paragraphs - I'm out of there. It breaks my conccentration to the point I can't follow the story. I've left quite a few books unfinished for that reason.

Quoted for truth. Names I can't pronounce annoy me to the point I'll quit reading.

law900
03-19-2009, 01:24 AM
Dear Travis,

Fantasy names should follow a real world linguistics morphology. In other words, don't just hit the keyboard like so: alhghbpaighieugr, and expect your reader to enjoy pronouncing the name. I for one am thrown out of a story and never go back, if I run into a character name that is so complex and alien, that I cannot easily pronounce it. As for Lyedir, let your reader pronounce it how they want - it gets the buy-in of the reader into the story and it's not hard to pronounce. As for an appendix, I’d shy away from writing a story that requires the reader to look up character names and place names, and details of the story – that too throws me out of a story that might by all accounts be a good one. But, once I’m out, I don’t go back and I don’t recommend that book to friends and family (just the way I am).

Travis J. Smith
03-19-2009, 01:55 AM
Dear Travis,

Fantasy names should follow a real world linguistics morphology. In other words, don't just hit the keyboard like so: alhghbpaighieugr, and expect your reader to enjoy pronouncing the name.I can say, right hand to God, that I would never do that. My writer friend who is my foil in every regard, including writing, writes mostly fantasy and the names he used made me want to shoot myself. When deciding on names I am always interested in how the name sounds (whether it rolls off the tongue or not and whether it is pleasing to the ear or not) and, at times, whether or not it befits the character.

So, long story short, no matter what the genre, my names remain grounded in this little thing we like to call reality.

Matera the Mad
03-19-2009, 03:13 AM
Just for the record, I saw it as Lee-EH-deer.

I say in my appendix, which I don't need to cut out because it will never be in the body of my book but on my website:

"Pronunciation is otherwise left to the discretion of the reader. No one pays much attention to pronunciation guides anyway."

bohica
03-20-2009, 07:02 AM
I think that's one of the best parts of the sci-fi/fantasy genres... When we nerds crawl out of our lairs and attempt to actually hold conversations about the stories we love, we all seem to have different pronunciations of the characters' names!